Ron Paul is extreme and libertarian, but he gets some things right. According to the article Ron Paul slams Herman Cain’s media coverage, he said “I’m challenging the whole banking system, the military industrial complex, the welfare state, our foreign policy. I want to go back to following strictly the Constitution.”
Paul has won several straw polls. This shows that some Republicans have some common sense and realize that the rest of the GOP candidates belong on a freak show.
The Left should welcome Paul as a lesser-of-evils among the Republicans; he’d damage candidates like Perry, Bachmann, Cain, and Romney, and he’d bring some sense to the GOP on some issues.
On the other hand, if the Left did promote him, other Republicans would probably use that as reason for opposing him.
Perhaps the Left may even need to enter into some sort of twisted strategic coalition with libertarians like Paul. Sigh. In this imperfect world we do need to make difficult lesser-of-evils decisions. People complain about America’s political system and sometimes suggest that a parliamentary democracy would be an improvement. But in such a system, there’s even more of a need for parties to enter coalitions with other parties.
At the AM 1090 forum in Kent this summer Dennis Kucinich “pointed out that a huge number of Tea Party congressmen voted against funding the war in Libya. We need to build some coalitions on separate issues and forget about labels and parties. Forget finding someone who agrees with you on every issue. With 50% of discretionary spending devoted to the Pentagon, we need to be flexible about ending it.” (source)
Think strategically. Don’t expect to win all battles right away.
Republican leaders announced today their plans to form an “American Nightmare Movement” (ANM) as a public-private partnership to promote more realistic expectations among the populace.
With funding from the US Chamber of Commerce and David and Charles Koch, the ANM is a response to the so-called American Dream Movement developed by MoveOn.org and former Obama Administration green energy czar Anthony Van Jones.
According to ANM spokesman Anthony Wilcox, “The goal of the American Nightmare Movement is to raise the consciousness of the American people about the nightmarish nature of the world. It’s a tough place here on earth, and people have to stop dreaming that government will make things right. Get over the dream-world fantasy of a Marxist utopia. Wake up to the nightmarish reality of life on earth, especially when government meddles in the free market.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner elaborated. “Things are tough and people need to lower their expectations. People will have to learn to make do with less. Less jobs. Less health care. Less education. Less housing. Less disaster relief. Less policing. Want A real nightmare? Follow President Obama’s lead and implement more regulation, taxation, environmentalism, unions, public education, and social programs such as Social Security and Medicare. You want to live in the USSR?”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the announcement by saying, “The President believes the Republicans have gone too far. The American dream is alive and well. All it takes is less partisan bickering and more cooperation to achieve shared goals.”
Asked by reporters for his response to the American Nightmare Movement, Van Jones said, “Life on earth doesn’t have to be nightmarish. If there were less corruption, less military spending, fewer tax breaks for the rich, less outsourcing of jobs and profits, and a bit more common sense, we could have a pretty good life here for almost everyone.”
if you’re talking about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out…
I share John Lennon’s ambivalence about the revolution, but I think there are revolutions coming. Maybe a revolution doesn’t have to include the choreography and armament to take the Bastille?
How about a revolution in agriculture? We watched a video about colony collapse disorder last night: Vanishing of the Bees. Well done, sobering, broad review of the situation for our pollination partners. I used to keep bees. Most beekeepers develop a pretty strong connection to their hives, to the collective being that is a beehive. The beekeepers in this movie certainly showed that connection. I don’t want to give the story away, so I will just say that I think the filmmakers are correct to identify bees as “canaries in the coal mine.” I think we need a revolution in the way we approach agriculture and food. Global food. What should it look like?
Also thinking about our global economic system. Tikkun has a piece by Leonardo Boff on the Crisis of Capitalism. This is an interesting read. I do have a sense that the current global economic crisis is qualitatively different from previous downturns. We face some pretty staggering demands from the natural world. We now live in a world of more extreme weather and the likelihood is that the trend to more extreme weather is just getting started, so the solution is a really major retooling of the world economy where sustainability rather than profit is the goal. Stabilizing the environment is going to require more than a game of three card monte based on cap and trade. The shell game has always been entertaining, but the game is fixed and the outcome is about fleecing the mark. (if you look around and you can’t spot the mark, you are the mark). Here’s a little taste of that Boff piece:
I believe the present crisis of capitalism is more than cyclical and structural. It is terminal. Are we seeing the end of the genius of capitalism, of always being able to adapt to any circumstance? I am aware that only few other people maintain this thesis. Two things, however, bring me to this conclusion.
The first is the following: the crisis is terminal because we all, but in particular capitalism, have exceeded the limits of the Earth. We have occupied and depredated the whole planet, destroying her subtle equilibrium and exhausting her goods and services, to the point that she alone can no longer replenish all that has been removed…
The second reason is linked to the humanitarian crisis that capitalism is creating.
Before, it was limited to the peripheral countries. Now it is global, and it has reached the central countries. The economic question cannot be resolved by dismantling society. The victims, connected by new venues of communication, resist, revolt and threaten the present order. Ever more people, especially the young, reject the perverse capitalist political economic logic: the dictatorship of finance that, through the market, subjugates the States to its interests, and the profitability of speculative capital, that circulates from one stock market to another, reaping profits without producing anything at all, except more money for the stockholders.
So our gaze in the US of A is currently fixed on the three card monte game that is the national election cycle. Here we go, keep the cards rotating, let the media cover the “debates” and comment on who won and who lost, like a winner could be found in this crowd (Huntsman? What is he doing in the GOP?) The media talking heads perform like they have one lonely brain cell in their pretty little heads, they stay away from any significant, in-depth questions, or if they ask a good question, they watch as somebody pulls the string so the candidate can recite a talking point that may or may not have anything to do with the question or the underlying and significant issue.
Just think about how bad it is when the country is having trouble deciding whether Obama is a better choice than a candidate like Perry or Bachman. Yikes! Obama has made some disastrous choices, starting with his choice of Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner and he’s turned out to be sort of an Eisenhower Republican, though maybe some of us were hoping to get a democrat in the WH or even a Rockefeller Republican. Can’t get there from here.
Imagine this country electing an FDR type democrat? That would be a revolution (and would probably spark one as well).
Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently said America should be guided by “the Christian values that this country was based upon.” Even though Article 11 of the John Adams-endorsed Treaty of Tripoli states “the Government of the United States of America, is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” I’m sure it warmed the hearts of Christian voters in the room. However, Rick Perry is the absolute worst model of a Christian leader.
The scriptures are clear about the necessity of helping the sick and the poor. Proverbs 3:27 instructs those to not withhold good from the deserving when it’s in their power to do so. Jesus defined the Christian’s role of aiding the needy in Matthew 25: 35-41, adding that those who deny the needy the help they need do it to him also. Jesus also warns, speak out against religious hypocrites in Matthew 23. The idea of wealth redistribution isn’t new – Luke the Apostle actually advocated for it in Acts 4, in a passage called “Believers Share Their Possessions.”
Yet, Rick Perry instead chose to deny public healthcare to tens of thousands of his fellow Texans with reckless cuts to Medicaid. 4.6 million Texans are living in poverty, with a poverty rate three percentage points higher than the national average. After Governor Perry cut millions from volunteer firefighter and forest service budgets, Texas’ wildfires are raging to this day.
Instead of redistributing wealth, Perry’s friends in the capitol denied help to struggling people in his state in the midst of a $27 billion revenue shortfall, and chose to reward owners of $250,000 yachts with a generous tax break. Perry, who constantly criticizes federal entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare as “unconstitutional,” apparently feels entitled to $600,000 in taxpayer money to spruce up his rented mansion.
Not to be outdone, Ron Paul recently hinted during the CNN-Tea Party debate that allowing the uninsured to die was “what freedom is all about,” before finally relenting and saying churches and charity could likely pay for life-saving healthcare for a hypothetical uninsured patient in intensive care.
The attitude of conservatives nowadays is: “I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it.” They have lots of power and they’re willing, in fact, eager to destroy much of what we hold dear.
They believe or pretend that they’re doing God’s work and that they’re saving the People from the evils of government and liberalism. In fact they’re dangerous fanatics who are out to destroy our environment, our economy, and our heritage.
Armed with their slimy, deceptive talking points (“Social Security is a ponzi scheme”, “Socialism doesn’t work”, “Government-run hospitals are filthy”, “Only private industry creates jobs”, “We won’t raise anyone’s taxes,” “Taxes and regulations are destroying jobs”, “Pro-life”, “Liberty”,…), they can beat back any arguments. And the ill-informed and struggling voters largely follow them. For example, Washington State voters rejected I-1098 and passed I-1053 by almost two-to-one margins.
Voters in Weimar elected National Socialists.
Conservatives have perfected a winning electoral formula: corrupt, bankrupt, and mismanage government, then blame government and taxes for problems. Enough voters go along with them so that conservatives can win at the polls or steal elections. And like the proverbial frog in the pot, we’re slowly being boiled. Their plan to drown government and liberals in a bathtub of red ink, corruption, and mismanagement is succeeding.
I had hope that President Obama would resist the conservative onslaught, but he’s caved in or doesn’t care or has been out-numbered, or all three. The Democratic Party is corrupted too, by the need to raise funds, though it’s not as bad as the GOP. Moreover, it sure does seem incompetent. Democrats coddle Republicans; when given the chance to impeach or indict them; they look the other way, or “look forward.” The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” was poorly named; it was also largely a sellout to vested corporate interests. Obama is shooting himself in the foot with all his sellouts. His approval ratings are dropping, and he may drag the rest of the Democratic Party over the cliff.
I like to say that our enemy is “conservatives”, not “Republicans.” There are conservative and centrist Democrats , and they are part of the problem too.
Unfortunately, it appears that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, because jobs, profits, technology, and sanity are being shipped overseas.
The Young Turks have an entertaining video up from a town hall meeting with Representative Hultgren.
It’s short and tells the story.
The woman asks the right question about the Bush tax cuts, prosperity and job creation. The same question could/should be asked in a broader time frame. Since 1980, the tax table has been flattened in the model that Reagan and his acolytes have wanted and if this model worked to create prosperity, where is the prosperity? Why don’t we look at the tax model that existed in the time frame that created prosperity? The Eisenhower era tax table had tremendous incentives for businesses and the wealthy to invest in infrastructure instead of facing a top tax rate of 91% (essentially confiscatory at obscene income level). There is no incentive now for business leaders and planners to invest in their businesses when they can take huge bonuses instead and try to keep up with the Madoffs in a contest of conspicuous consumption. Fix the tax structure, fix the economy. Get the incentives right and things will turn around.
Wednesday Media was asked if it could cover a meeting of Act For America (http://actforamerica.org/) in Chehalis on August 27th. [Editor’s note: ACT! for America is an organization devoted to speaking “the truth about radical Islam, terror and jihad.”] We tried, but it was a hard slog. Here are some notes from the meeting and what they are thinking about:
A group of perhaps 30 people met to discuss their concern with a stealth war that is being waged against the United States. The group was entirely white, predominately male, and the average age is estimated to be 50+. I did not spot a single person who looked like they could be under 35 to 40 years of age.
It’s an interesting group who appear to share a concern about the appointment and election of “devout Muslims” to important government positions. There is also concern about devout Muslim infiltration of the military and police forces. The speaker started with a recitation about the danger of the Muslim invasion and statement that when the Muslim population of an area increases beyond 25% that the Muslim population takes over, gets pushy and begins to implement Sharia Law. The speaker was quite clear that Sharia Law is meant to replace all constitutional law and is a completely different kind of law.
Act for America was reported to number about 170,000 people now across the United States with significant political influence through funding of a lobbyist in Washington DC who is knocking on the doors of the elected officials.
There was encouragement to make connections between Act for America and the Minutemen, the National Rifle Association and other groups with closely-aligned goals. American is under attack from radical Islam, from Iran, from Hamas. Europe is even worse, it can’t recover without a “shooting war” and that seems unlikely. There was some discussion that GOP candidate Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it. He has made comments in the debates that led some in this group to believe he does not see the Muslims as a threat to Constitutional law.
There was brief discussion of the threat of illegal immigration to the US, that we are under attack from many fronts, but the focus returned quickly to the threat of Hamas, Palestine and muslim extremists.
The speaker, Bill, was friendly, persuasive and articulate and made many clear statements about the threats we face, but the statements were striking and consistent in their lack of specifics. Statements about the implementation of Sharia law in communities in the US were not backed up with a single locale named where this has happened or is happening.
The group watched a video “Wall of Lies” on the territorial conflict between Israel and teh Palestinian people. This video was very well done, it was persuasive propaganda mixing current day footage of campus demonstrations for justice for Palestine, for boycotts of Israeli goods, with 50 and 60 year old quotes from Middle Eastern political leaders, with footage of Iranian demonstrations against the US and Israel and the inevitable footage of Adolph Hitler, the translation of Mein Kampf into Arabic and an attempt to establish some kind of axis of evil connection between the European Holocaust against the Jewish people and the current territorial conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people.
The meeting was well-organized, as was the speaker and the political material. The video was top shelf propaganda, well organized, edited and produced.
I am not sure how a person would go about opening a dialogue with this group to broaden their understanding of US/Israeli militarism, the influence and sway of US power in the regions of the world where US political leaders identify national security interests (I think these interests are indistinguishable from control of oil and mineral resources and the geopolitics of controlling those resources) and how strategic US interests invade the lives of other human beings on the planet. I would love to see this group and others like it exposed to a more rational analysis of Middle East politics from persons like Steve Niva, Peter Bohmer or Larry Mosqueda (to drop just a few names), but that exposure seems pretty unlikely.
Will post up some photos sometime soon, but they are pretty unremarkable.